The following remarks were delivered by HaRav Yosef Efrati
at the recent emergency meeting about the attempts of Reform
Jews to acquire influence in the Yerushalayim school
I have been asked by the members of Vaad HaRabbonim to
present before this important forum Maran Rav Yosef Sholom
Eliashiv's opinion regarding the battle against turning over
the oversight of schools in the holy city of Jerusalem to a
heretical sect known as Reform.
In order to understand the need to wage such a battle, we
must reiterate what the Reform movement is and the means
whereby this sect brought about a spiritual holocaust in the
homes of millions of our brethren.
Reform Jews are not merely porkei ol, i.e. secularists
who fail to observe the mitzvos. The root word chilon
means "lacking" and according to the Chazon Ish's famous
description, chiloniut ["secularism"] is essentially
an "empty wagon." Therefore when an awakening takes place
besiyata deShmaya out of the embers and ashes of this
empty wagon--a yearning for ruchniyus--one can find
his way to Yiddishkeit, and that yearning will be
expressed through the mitzvos.
Yet Reform is a different sect. He who joins them becomes a
member of a religious sect that imposes no obligations, a
religion whose laws are annually reformulated at conferences,
and whose ostensible spiritual tasks change at will just as
chameleons change their skin color based on the needs of the
immediate environment. In Germany Reform Jews deleted from
books they called "siddurim" all mention of Tzion and
Jerusalem, and in the United States many of their leaders who
call themselves "rabbonim" have permitted mixed marriages.
In every given period they respond to the desires of the day.
In Germany their leaders believed they would be able to
become integrated among the goyim by removing their
ties to Tzion, and in the United States they hoped to achieve
the same goal by removing their ties to the Jewish people and
by lending a hand to assimilation.
Thus one who falls into this sect is not riding in an empty
wagon, for he has joined a sect that is a false imitation of
Judaism. He is a poreik ol and only pretends to be
religious. Because he has removed himself from the
klal, he denies the foundations of Judaism.
When this battle began gedolei Yisroel established a
position like that detailed in a responsum by the Chasam
Sofer (VI:85): "They should be driven from our midst and
their communities are like the communities of the Sadducees,
Baitus, Onon and Shaul."
An examination of statements made by the poskim in
Eileh Divrei Habris, a compilation of responsa by
gedolei Yisroel on the subject, shows that Reform Jews
are characterized: "They are not Jews and not goyim." The
Maharam Shik even characterized them as goyim in all
When former Jerusalem Chief Rabbi Tzvi Pesach Frank heard
they planned to establish a foothold in the Holy City, he had
good reason for saying, "In my opinion a large rabbinical
conference must be arranged to make ready to confront this
evil from the outset and to declare that it be kept away from
kahal Hashem for all eternity, because this monster is
worse than all of the various types of secularists
(chilonim), for through their activities they [i.e.
Reform] bring chaos and confusion into the world and increase
the power of the Sitra Achra."
Having clarified already well-known facts on Reform Jews and
the Reform movement, we turn to an analysis of the elements
of the current struggle.
I will present three crimes contained in the agreement, and
not comment further on the fourth. (after Amos chapter
A. The Breaches. This is the modus operandi of
yetzer hora. The Reform want to gain a foothold in all
areas of Judaism and to establish positions in the king's
palace. It began with their attempt to enter the Religious
Council. What need do they see in this? Do they lack
eruvin? Is kosher food their desire and are
mikvo'os their top priority? Their main goal is to
destroy the walls of Jerusalem. After beginning in the public
sector they turn to education in an effort to take part in
municipal education. Agreeing to bring them into the field of
education would represent a breach, and we must stand firm
like a fortified wall. Too many breaches have already been
made in the walls of Jerusalem. Cease.
B. The Content. But the second crime--the content of
the agreement--is a graver one. Incorporating the Reform in
the education of Jewish children would mean allowing this
heretical sect to assume control of the education of children
who have been "kidnapped" by a Reform Moloch, i.e. missionary
schools for the Reform religion. How must we be disgraced and
what will we answer on Judgment Day when we see our brothers
and sisters, tinokos shenishbu, about whom the Chazon
Ish zt'l said we are commanded to "return them with
cords of love and to bring them to the light to the best of
Instead they are given over to another sect and are led down
a path of no return to be severed from every trace of
I want to make it clear by an analogy: There are some among
the poskei hador who hold that a man married to a non-
Jewish woman severs himself completely from the klal
while a Shabbos desecrater Rachmono litzlan has a
different [more lenient] din in many cases. Even
though the halocho states that a mumar lechalel
Shabbos is a mumar lekol haTorah kuloh, yet today
he is not considered to have severed himself from the
klal entirely. A few threads still connect him to
klal Yisroel even if he is a mechalel Shabbos.
Whereas a man married to a non-Jew has severed himself
completely. And according to these opinions this difference
has several consequences lehalochoh in which one who
has intermarried is worse than a mechalel Shabbos.
Our hearts are torn by the education Jewish children receive
at state schools. We are distraught over an education devoid
of Torah and mitzvos. But, as we explained above, at least
this type of education strengthens ties to an empty wagon,
producing a mumar letei'ovon. Yet Reform education
severs [children] from the klal entirely. Thus it
resembles marrying a non-Jewish woman, "the daughter of an
C. The Means -- The third crime is not just that
Reform parents aim to set up defective schools for their
children independent of the state system, lehavdil
like the chareidi model; rather this agreement would
transform regular, local municipal schools, which provide a
state-run education to children from traditional families as
well, along with several local junior high schools,
transforming the standard local education in these
neighborhoods to Reform education, Hashem yerachem!
Considering the failure of secular education and the need to
infuse spiritual content in order to raise the standards of
education, they are likely to provide a spurious substitute
that, based on the current situation, could have untold
And I will not comment on the fourth--that we have an
outright war for Hashem against this heretical sect all
Sadly the message that is now going out from Jerusalem, based
on the well-known saying: laxity in Torah in Vilna means
shmad in Berlin. Faintheartedness in the battle
against this heretical sect in Jerusalem could further weaken
already tested Jews.
If in a holy place like Jerusalem--where half of the city's
council declare that they are shomrei Torah umitzvos--
heretical education is legitimized, why wage war against it
in distant communities across the country? If Jerusalem
permits the way of Rome and Berlin to gain access, how will
the Jews of Berlin be able to fight it? When gedolei
Yisroel have been waging an extensive campaign to isolate
and distance themselves from this evil, how can Jerusalem
allow them to draw near?
Allow me to finish with an appeal to the mayor: In
Shofetim Ehud comes to Eglon and says, "Devar
Elokim li eilecho vayokom mei'al hakisei" (3:20), and in
maseches Sanhedrin Chazal learn a kal vochomer
for all of us to stand up.
We, too, turn to you, Mr. Ehud Olmert, and ask you, devar
Elokim lonu eilecho, remove this decree from Jerusalem.
We entreat you, get up from your seat and join us in keeping
this decree out of Jerusalem.